Welcoming Strangers

Project: Research

Project Details


In the era of accelerated transnational mobility and mass migration, traditional notions of citizenship and belonging and our understanding of what constitutes ‘the native and the stranger’ have become increasingly problematic. The growing importance of multi-locality, transnational communities, cosmopolitanism and forms of flexible citizenship call binarisms which posit ‘the stranger’ as ‘the Other’ of the indigenous community, as ‘the guest’ who is welcomed by the hegemonic host society, into question. In the context of contemporary Europe, Britain and North America, the strangers that have been welcomed (or not), have largely been ethnic minorities (including ‘white ethnics’), which explains why current public and scholarly discourses on transnational mobility, migration, citizenship and cultural diversity usually intersect with debates on ethnicity and race.
HARC Fellow Daniela Berghahn approaches the HARC theme for 2011-12, WELCOMING STRANGERS, from the critical vantage points of transnationalism, migration and diaspora studies since these disciplines provide useful heuristic tools not only for a socio-political analysis of forms of hospitality extended to ‘strangers’ (e.g. through asylum, immigration and integration policies), but also for the analysis of cultural production and forms of cultural hybridity that occur in ‘the diaspora space’. Avtar Brah describes it as a conceptual space, ‘‘inhabited’, not only by those who have migrated and their descendants, but equally by those who are constructed and represented as indigenous’ (Brah 1996: 209). It is a site of entanglement in which the dichotomy between the indigenous and the stranger collapses.
AcronymHARC Fellowship (Royal Holloway)
Effective start/end date19/09/1113/07/12


  • Humanities and Arts Research Centre (HARC), Royal Holloway: £2,943.00